On June 23rd, I interviewed a dear friend of mine who just entered a new relationship. My friend and her partner had their first date one week before our province locked down due to COVID-19. After following their love story for quite some time, I figured it would be interesting to talk with her in-depth about her experience. This is a monumental time in history and saying you met your significant other during a pandemic is something very few can relate to.
Here is what my friend had to say about dating during a world-wide lockdown.
How did you meet?
We met on OK Cupid. On OK Cupid you can send an intro message to people before they like you. He liked me and sent me an intro message. His message to me was a lot more interesting than the usual introductions I got. When I saw his profile, I noticed he worked in a similar industry as me, and we had similar interests. I matched back with him, we started talking about our hobbies, and continued to connect consistently after that.
How long have you been talking for? And have you made it official?
We have been talking for over three months. We started talking in early March and I would say we are a couple, yea.
How far away do you live from one another?
Approximately an hour away. Once a week or weekend we had intentions of seeing each other, but after lockdown started, we talked strictly online for 14 weeks. That’s three and a half months of long-distance dating.
Did you meet in-person before quarantine?
Once, yea, on March 8th. We went to Starbucks. It went well, we talked for about three hours. The following weekend after our first date I couldn’t go see him as I already had plans. So we made plans to see each other the following weekend. However, by Wednesday of the week, we were going to see each other, everything had started closing.
I was disappointed because I wanted to go to see him again. But I prioritized safety over everything, for both of us. Despite all of this, I still felt optimistic.
What has your experience been dating during a lockdown?
It’s been pretty positive. It’s been really easy and relaxed. When all the shutdowns happened, we both agreed that we would continue doing video chats and online movie nights. We had time to see each other relatively face-to-face. He was working, but I haven’t been, so this has given me something to look forward.
I have never solely dated online. I have been in a long-distance relationship before, but this felt different. This was a committed, consistent, online relationship. We wanted to still have fun and get to know each other despite the circumstances. In my previous relationship, we were just trying to fill in the gaps between dates; we only did that for two or three weeks and then we broke up.
What are the pros and cons of dating strictly online?
Well, the cons are definitely that you don’t get to see your partner in person. Because we are dealing with COVID-19, you can’t do many things. You can’t go to the movies, you can’t go bowling, etc. Online, you are pretty much restricted to doing certain things together, but separate.
Pros, it is very relaxed. You can just hang out and chat; there is no stress of driving anywhere or figuring out what to eat and drink. What I’ve liked is that we have gotten to know each other well through just talking. We have had so much time to deeply connect. When you are in person doing things, you may not have as much time to just sit down and chat. If you go to see a movie together, there is only so much time you have to speak i.e. before and after the film. Not that you wouldn’t get to know each other the same way in person, I just feel like I got to know him faster in this case.
Have you met again in-person? If so, how was it?
Yes, we met last weekend, three and a half months after our first date. We went to a conservation area for a walk outside, to avoid large crowds.
It well really well, it was very chill. We got to hang out and it was nice. I got to hug him again haha, so that was cool. I didn’t find it weird, because it felt like I was seeing someone I knew well. It was lovely to see him again, and I knew him well after talking for so many months.
After the conservation area, we went for a patio dinner as well. We are in a proper relationship now, and everything is still going well.
What have you learned from meeting your partner during a pandemic?
Well, uh, I don’t know. When I say online dating, I more mean long-distance dating. After this experience, I feel we will be okay and can handle long distance again. Say, if one of us went on a trip or there was another lockdown.
I still would have preferred to get to know him in person, but meeting online went well, we got to know each other.
Do you have any advice for couples in strictly digital relationships?
Look into things that you can do together online. There is a lot out there for you to do with your partner. Movies, online games, quizzes; it was really fun to do something together each week.
I would also say, stay relaxed and don’t stress. Once you relax and simply enjoy your time together, being in an online or long-distance relationship is easy to do.
I give kudos to my friend for being such a pro at long-distance dating. I have found it extremely hard to create normalcy with friends who I am so used to hanging out with in person. I realized through this interview that I had been overthinking online relationships to an immense degree.
Now I will remember, stay calm, carry on, and do what you would normally do, just do it online.
Previously published on medium
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